TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/17

2:31pm Walking in my wife accidentally says “Yay girl!” to a guy and he asks for her number. She’s off to a great start here at Riot Fest.

2:50pm: Young talent alert! Denzel Curry impresses the hell out of everyone by freestyling two songs a capella due to technical issues. He continues to impress once the issues have been fixed, and takes any opportunity to jump off the stage to connect with the crowd.

3:35pm: The Hold Steady is playing Boys and Girls in America in full at the Rock Stage and everyone is losing their minds. Even us photographers are singing along and smiling while trying to capture the moment.

4:09pm: I catch end of Motion City Soundtrack’s set, one of their last ever as they’ve announced their breakup, and it’s a pretty amazing scene. The crowd surfing is some of the best I’ve seen so far and once the set ends, the band tosses their picks, drumsticks, set lists, and more out to their fans, many of whom are in tears.




4:26pm: Bob Mould is electric and barely gives himself a chance to breathe in between songs. He is shredding in the blinding sun, as is his band.

4:32pm: There is little shade here at Douglas Park, so it’s no wonder that I’m being told for the second time today that it looks like I’m getting a burn. I am covered in SPF 75, but apparently it’s not enough.

4:40pm: I just found out that no meat will be cooked or sold here at Riot Fest from 8pm on due to Morrissey’s specific animal rights requests. I guess he’s really going to show!


5:05pm: OHMYGOD who is this band and how can I see them all of the time? The Hives are putting on the set of the fest right now. “We’re here,” lead singer Pelle Almqvist says, “So you have two wishes left.” He laughs.


5:20pm: Fitz and the Tantrums bring their breezy soul pop to the Roots Stage thus creating a sea of dancing. While lead Michael Fitzpatrick dazzles and charms, Noelle Scaggs (backup vocals and percussion) steals the show with her charisma—and her dance moves.


5:54pm: It’s weird seeing GZA on stage all by himself. He seems a little lonely up there. Nonetheless, the Wu-Tang classics fire everyone up.


6:20pm: “REAL PUNK ROCK!” is all I can think the Descendents plunge into Everything Sux. Frankly, I’m a little starstruck.


7:19pm: “There are two things that you need to bring to a Method Man & Redman concert,” Method explains. “The first one is obvious. You better bring weed…the second thing you need to bring is energy!” He’s not kidding. It’s a truly fun set heavy on old school hip hop.

7:50pm: My friend is dancing her way to a group of us sitting in the grass listening to Method and Redman. A beer attendant is taking a break to heckle passerbys with a megaphone and starts chanting “Go White Girl!” the minute he sees her. She responds by amping up her moves.


8:50pm: Nas is a few minutes late to hit the stage but while I’ve been standing here I’ve seen: (1) a security guard who looks exactly like Odell Beckham Jr. showing off his dance moves to another security guard, (2) the crowd, which is divided down the middle by security barriers, engage in a chanting war: “Fuck that side! Fuck that side!” and (3) the crowd now bouncing a beach ball back and forth from side to side.


9:18pm: After strolling out over 30 minutes late because some vendor didn’t put their meat away, Morrissey is audacious as ever, rambling on about what’s wrong with England’s political system and our political system and everything in general in between songs. I’d enjoy this more if he’d talk less and sing more—and specifically sing more of The Smiths.


9:42pm: Walking out I see two Dads smoking a blunt, one of whom has clearly only done so once or twice a long time ago. He turns to his buddy and asks, “So is this, like, chronic?”

9:44pm: Wait, what?! There’s a pig here?! More on that Sunday…

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